Thanks to the calendar and retailer panic, the Christmas season came early this year. But not as early as the seasonal debate over public Christmas celebrations. The "December dilemma" is now stretching back into October.

It's become a tradition of sorts: government workers muzzled from wishing people "Merry Christmas," carols squelched in city holiday parades, candy canes confiscated from public school classrooms. The First Amendment doesn't prohibit any of these, but fear of offense (and of "theocracy") has kept such bans going. Similar fears have led to a separation of church and store, as businesses denude their "holiday" promotions of any reference to what the said "holiday" might be.

If we lived in Whoville, we might respond each and all with singing and joy, and without any gall. But this isn't Whoville, and we'd rather brawl.

Or so it seems. On the punditry front, The War on Christmas, by Fox News's John Gibson (not a churchgoer), is duking it out with How the Republicans Stole Christmas, by MSNBC's Bill Press. "The war on Christmas really is a war on Christians," Gibson told Focus on the Family. "And they've gotten away with it."

Focus and others are determined to make sure "they" don't get away with it any more. A press release for the Alliance Defense Fund's Christmas Project warns of "more than 800 attorneys available nationwide to combat any improper attempts to censor the celebration of Christmas in schools and on public property." The Christmas Project is joined by other efforts, such as the Liberty Counsel's Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign. Other Christian organizations are boycotting companies that wish "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas," and they have seen some success.

Such efforts may be perceived ...

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